Saturday 18 November 2017

The enduring ties that bind John Traynor and crime boss John Gilligan

Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

Far from being an avuncular con artist, John Traynor was in fact a major criminal, writes Willie Kealy

When Veronica Guerin was murdered, everything was frantic. All of us who worked with her were in shock. But we were also having to pull out all the stops to make sure the papers we produced in grief were up to the standard she had always set herself. And I suppose we wanted to make sure that her life and work were accorded their due, and this was not something we felt we could leave to others – for Veronica's sake, for her family's sake and for our own sake too.

As journalists from every end of the business either overpraised her, exaggerated their role in her life and work, or tried to claim she had been reckless to a fault and that we shared in that blame, it became a 24-hour operation to keep the message simple. Veronica was a great journalist, but she wasn't perfect. Nobody is. She did things that others didn't have the courage to do, but she was not foolhardy. She was simply driven not just to succeed in her profession, but to see to it that those amassing fortunes out of the misery of whole communities and who were allowed the status of 'untouchables' by the forces of the State, would feel the uncomfortable glare of publicity on them. And for that she was murdered.

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